Connecting Data for Better Outcomes - case study from Brighton and Hove City Council for GeoPlace Exemplar Awards 2017
Brighton and Hove City Council provides access to or information about 250 services via its website. The council has introduced a Customer Index strategy as part of its wider ICT strategy with the ultimate aim of providing a single view of the customer.
The council identified 34 separate departments all using different systems, some of which used common data, others operating on a standalone basis. Residents could exist in several separate customer records with no means of identifying which records were common to one individual. A single person can live at one address, own another address, work at another address etc. which made data record population a technical challenge.
Apart from the added administrative cost of duplicated data capture and entry, the existing fragmented record structure created a less than ideal customer experience requiring individuals to provide detailed personal data on multiple occasions. In addition, this did little to hinder opportunities for fraudulent access to council services.
There were three main drivers behind the required creation of the Customer Index
1. Reduce the staff resource required to maintain data records by improving the data quality, decrease the amount of staff time spent on data processing and lessen the number of and amount of time dealing with customer complaints
2. Improve the customer experience by reducing the number of complaints and making access to services easier, specifically with a view to creating a new online customer portal with enhanced My Account facility. This facility displays personalised local services and information based on UPRN data from the unique Customer Reference Index Number (CIRN)
3. Create data records capable of aiding fraud analytics and fraud detection, realising significant annual cost savings
A fundamental component within the introduction of the Customer Index is the council’s Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG).
How is the data connected?
The UPRN included in each record within the council’s LLPG is used to link location data to personal data to facilitate the data cleansing and matching processes with the ultimate aim of creating a Customer Index Record Number (CIRN).
The process of creating the Customer Index involved identifying and resolving disparities between data fields in different systems before cleansing the data ready to be loaded into the Customer Index. The UPRN was integral in accurately associating and cross referencing the different datasets.
What are the outcomes?
The council is well on the way to achieving its required objectives:
- Improved data quality leading to a reduced cost / resource requirement
- Auto-population of input methods enhancing quality of data capture
- Automation of tasks leading to seamless data cleansing processing
- Reduced staff processing time realising annual cost savings of £300-400k
- New online customer portal delivering an improved customer experience
- Improved customer experience bringing a reduction in complaints
- Cross departmental data access delivering improved inter departmental communication
- Documentation facilitating complete/concise training and system documentation
- Cross departmental system data flows leading to improved fraud detection
- Fraud detection and prevention aiming to realise annual cost savings of approx. £10m
A key mechanism for success in the project has been the value of data matching from a location point of view. The project also shows the value of harmonising information within the council - the UPRN has been both the glue and the key to success for this project.
The work carried out by Brighton and Hove is a good example of how good quality address data can be utilised to link disparate data sources together. The power of the UPRN can be used to link people to place, create efficiencies and improve services. This type of project, while exemplary in its execution, is achievable by all councils as every authority across the country has access to their own LLPG and through the Public Sector Mapping Agreement, access to AddressBase, a national version of the data.